Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the RPA Blog.

Hotline #949-A

Positive Train Control (PTC) technology has been an important discussion for passenger rail lines, freight railroads and government regulators for years. In essence, the technology is designed to slow or stop trains that are in danger of derailment or collisions due to high speeds, and it relies on GPS and computers to monitor the train’s speed and position. In December 2015, Amtrak began operating passenger rail service with versions of PTC in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Bos

Hotline #948

The challenge of seeing that passenger rail is restored to the Gulf Coast has been handled by the Southern Rail Commission (SRC), a group whose members were appoint­ed by the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The commission has developed an alliance of local elected officials, business leaders, and civic leaders across the Gulf states that are working together to boost passenger rail in the region. And progress to restore Gulf Coast service continues, with Amtrak and the SRC ann

Hotline #947

With the Washington metropolitan area experiencing an historic snowstorm, your hardworking NARP office staff have been affected. We have deployed our resources to remote locations to try to maintain member services during the storm, but please be aware that many basic services in the region are being disrupted. If you can't reach us right away, please leave voicemail or send emails and we will do our best to help you as quickly as possible. Thousands of flights have already been canceled. Amtra

Hotline #946

NOTE- The NARP Office will be closed on January 18th for the Martin Luther King holiday The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) put rail safety at the top of its “10 Most Wanted” list of priorities for 2016, reports the Washington Post. The NTSB has been calling for installation of PTC for decades, but the pressing need for the safety system was driven home by the crash of Amtrak Train #188 outside of Philadelphia on May 12, 2015. The agency warned Congress and federal regulators

Hotline #945

View on Vimeo New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced an ambitious $3 billion plan to renovate Penn Station, reports the New York Times. It includes creating an adjunct train and retail hub in the James A. Farley Post Office across the street. During his press conference, Cuomo also outlined plans for new air and rail terminals, new transit stations and a Hudson River rail tunnel, calling it “the biggest construction program in our state’s history.” The state, working with Amtrak and MT

Hotline #944

One of the provisions buried in the FAST Act authorized a new structure for funding Amtrak based on business lines, like the Northeast Corridor. NARP has vehemently and consistently disagreed with this structure for years, as explicated in this blog post, noting that only 30 of Amtrak’s 500-plus stations sit along the NEC. The 11 million riders the NEC carried this year are important—but so are the 19 million that travelled on the National Network. The U.S. can't afford to ignore either grou

Hotline #943

A major rail milestone was reached this week, with Amtrak activating Positive Train Control technology on all its between Washington and New York, reports the Washington Post. PTC is now operational on nearly all the Amtrak-owned or maintained track along the Northeast Corridor, which stretches from Washington to Boston, said D.J. Stadtler, the rail company’s vice president of operations. However, a story in Atlantic magazine notes that while Congress has allocated $25 million in funding in t

Hotline #942

Congress unveiled a $1.1 trillion omnibus budget bill on December 16 to keep the government funded in 2016, including $57.6 billion in transportation funding. The final document, read by NARP Vice President Sean Jeans-Gail, clocks in at just over 2,000 pages, which—given the wide-ranging focus of the budget bill—has industries and advocacy groups all across the country scrambling to see what the bill means for them. The House passed the compromise bill by a vote of 316 to 113, with Speak

Hotline #941

Amtrak President Joe Boardman Amtrak President Joe Boardman announced his retirement from the rail corporation in a letter to employees. He will leave in September 2016 after nearly eight years on the job. “One of the reasons why I gave our board notice so far in advance of my planned retirement is because I want them to have the time to think about the next leader they will select and have a chance to think about the kinds of qualities this leader will need as we move forward,” Boardman

Hotline #940

For the first time in a decade, Congress has successfully passed a long-term surface transportation bill, sending the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to the desk of President Barack Obama. The bill cleared the Senate (by an 83-16 vote) and the House (by a 384-40 vote) on Thursday. The White House has indicated the President will sign the bill today. NARP Vice President Sean Jeans-Gail went through all 1,300 pages of the transportation bill to analyze items including the nat